Since Duncan went home yesterday (and took his powerbook with him) I’ve been experimenting with the only other wireless device available here : a Toshiba M100 laptop. This is my main work machine, which usually has early access builds of Solaris 10 installed (s10_73 at the moment)

Unfortunately, there still isn’t wireless support in Solaris for the Intel 2100 wireless card (at least as far as I’m aware) so I’ve been trying a few alternatives. I don’t want to remove Solaris completely from my laptop, and seeing as I’m really only using it at the moment for casual web-browsing while watching TV, I’ve been looking at a few live-CD linux distributions.

My first port of call was the latest stable GNOPPIX CD – 0.8.2, which is based off the 2.6 Linux kernel and looks fantastic (can’t seem to find screenshots, but here’s what the previous release looks like) Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to autodetect the wireless card, and I’m not enough of a linux admin to work out what the problem is.

So, the next distro I tried was Knoppix, which was much better – it happily found my wireless card, and after a little bit of configuration (telling it what my wireless encryption settings were) it had found my access point and I was up and running. The downside though, is that it’s totally based on KDE, which I’m not a huge fan of. I know this shouldn’t matter, but I just get an uneasy feeling whenever I’m running KDE — there’s something not quite right about it, but given that it’s my only choice at the moment, it’ll do for now : many thanks to those behind KNOPPIX for allowing me to be able to read web pages while watching TV ! (v. handy when watching “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” : Ask the audience ? Phone a friend ? – I prefer “Look up the answer on Google” !)

Trying to explain why I feel so odd when using Linux or KDE is difficult – this Userfriendly strip tries to get the notion across though. Of course, there’s lots of reasons why businesses should use Solaris over Linux, but when you get to the desktop (and laptop) it becomes a little harder to justify : after all, since all your data is residing on the server anyway, the actual operating system you’re running locally becomes less important. JDS is following just this model : if you can get the same excellent management and configuration tools on Linux or Solaris, then what do you care about the underlying operating system ? Perhaps though, a few things might sway your opinion ? Personally, I’d still want to use Solaris.

I’ll admit though, right now hardware support is something that needs more work in Solaris. That said, we’ve come a very long way in the last year or so (the very notion of running Solaris on a laptop a few years ago was only for the hardcore geeks who were looking for a challenge!) Here’s hoping there’ll be Intel Centrino support in Solaris sometime soon – does anyone know ? The only other thing I’d like to see supported is to get some proper x86 power management (suspend/resume). I’m guessing though that “Tim’s Laptop” isn’t a huge priority for the x86 device driver people just at the moment :-)